How To Reset the Tire Pressure Monitoring System on Your Corvette

TPMS Light On

James Berry Mar 14, 2016 0 Comment(s)
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Q: Hello this is John J. I recently met you at the Mecum auction. I had several questions about a 1970 Corvette that I am restoring and wanted to thank you for taking the time to answer all of my questions.

Well, it seems that I have another question on my 1997 Corvette. I have been having a problem with my Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS). It seem every time the temperature outside changes drastically my TPMS light comes on.

I set the tire pressure to the factory specification then drive the car and sometimes the light will go off, but more often than not the light will stay on. Then I am stuck taking my Corvette to the dealer or the local tire store, which is inconvenient to say the least. Is there a step that I am missing? Is there any way I can get the light to go off without having to buy an expensive piece of equipment?

Thanks again,
John J (via e-mail)

A: Good to hear from you, John. You are correct that if the ambient temperature changes drastically it can cause the TPMS light to come on. One thing to check before you get started is the Drivers Information Center (DIC). Scroll through to see if all of the TPMS sensors are reading some kind of air pressure. A sensor may be defective if it reads: “--.”

Simple Procedure

When the TPMS light comes on there is a simple procedure to reset the system that will work most of the time.

a) First, adjust the air pressure to the factory specification. The factory specification is located on a sticker on the inside of the driver-side door or doorjamb. When filling the tires, start with the driver front tire, then the passenger front tire, then the passenger rear tire and finally the driver rear tire.

b) Some vehicles require that you then drive the vehicle over 40 miles per hour for about a minute.

c) If the TPMS is still on, raise the tire pressure in all four tires by 10 psi starting with the driver front tire, then the passenger front tire, then the passenger rear tire and finally the driver rear tire.

d) Again, you may need to drive the vehicle over 40 miles per hour for about a minute. Normally this will reset the TPMS light, especially if the light came on due to ambient temperature.

e) If the light reset, you will need to adjust the air pressure back to the factory specification starting with the driver front tire, then the passenger front tire, then the passenger rear tire and finally the driver rear tire.

Types of TPMS Systems Used on Corvettes

There are two types of TPMS: indirect and direct. Indirect systems use the vehicle’s wheel sensors to compare the turning circumference of each tire to the other three. This system is not very accurate and will not issue a warning if all four tires lose air equally, which can happen with temperature changes.

2 Direct Tpms Sensor 2/4

The direct system, which is used in the Corvette, uses sensors fitted inside the tire’s air chamber where they read the pressure directly. The early C4 systems used a transmitting wheel sensor, which is held in place by large band clamp.

The C5 and newer Corvettes use a transmitting wheel sensor, which is attached to the tire’s valve stem. The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) has a separate sensor/transmitter in each wheel.

If tires are rotated, a sensor is replaced or the sensor system simply loses its calibration, the TPMS warning light may illuminate. At this point, the receiver must be reprogrammed.

Reprogramming the receiver is something you can do on most earlier Corvettes without the use of an expensive piece of equipment.

Relearn Procedure

1991-1996 Corvette

a) Ensure all of the tires are inflated to the factory specification listed on the doorjamb placard.

b) When the ignition is turned off, the system will clear itself and the TPMS telltale will turn off.

c) The system will recalibrate when the vehicle is operated at a speed of 30 mph for a minimum of 30 seconds.

1997-2004 Corvette

General Motors has a special programming tool for this job (PN J41760), which is a U-shaped magnet. However, a large speaker magnet will usually do the job.

3 Magnet 3/4

The following is a step-by-step procedure that anyone can do to reprogram the C5 Corvette’s wheel sensors:

a) Ensure all of the tires are inflated to the factory specification listed on the doorjamb placard.

b) Let the vehicle sit for 2 minutes, then turn the ignition to the Run position (engine off).

c) Press the “Reset” button to clear any Instrument Panel Cluster (IPC) or DIC display warning messages.

d) Press and release the “Options” button on the Information Center and scroll through the display options until the display is blank.

e) Press and hold the Information Center “Reset” button for 3 seconds.

f) Press the “Options” button again until the “TIRE TRAINING” message appears.

g) Press the “Reset” button until the following message appears on the Information Center: “Learn Left Front Tire.”

h) Place a large magnet over the left (driver-side) front valve stem. The horn will sound indicating the left front TPMS sensor is programmed. If this takes more than 15 seconds, pull the magnet back and try again, it will give you three tries. If the procedure fails after three tries then you must start the complete sequence over.

i) When the horn sounds, the Information Center will direct you to proceed to program the next sensor in the following order: Learn Right Front Tire, Learn Right Rear Tire and Learn Left Rear Tire. The programming can be canceled at any time by turning the ignition off. If the programming is cancelled with less than four sensors learned, it will only accept the sensors programmed up to that point.

2005-’13 Corvette, With Standard Ignition (Tool Required)

a) Let the vehicle sit for 2 minutes, then turn the ignition to the Run position (engine off).

b) Using the keyless entry system; press and hold the lock and unlock buttons simultaneously until the horn chirps. Then the left front turn signal will become illuminated to let you know the learn mode is enabled.

c) Install the wheel sensor reprogramming tool over the left front valve stem (you will need to hold the tool very close). The horn will sound, indicating the left front TPMS sensor is programmed. If this takes more than 15 seconds, pull the reprogramming tool back and try again, it will give you three tries. If the procedure fails after three tries then, you must start the complete sequence over.

d) If the tool will not read a sensor, that sensor may have failed internally.

e) When the horn sounds, the IPC will direct you to proceed to program the next sensor in the following order: Learn Right Front Tire, Learn Right Rear Tire and Learn Left Rear Tire. The programming can be canceled at any time by turning ignition off. If the programming is cancelled with less than four sensors learned, it will only accept the sensors programmed up to that point.

f) After programing the last wheel sensor the horn will chirp twice to let you know all the sensors have been programed.

4 Tpms Tool 4/4

2005-’13 Corvette, With Pushbutton Start (Tool Required)

a) Let the vehicle sit for 2 minutes, then turn ignition to the Run position (engine off).

b) Press and hold the pushbutton start until the vehicle goes into accessary mode.

c) Press the MENU button located on the turn signal lever until Vehicle Information Menu (VIM) is displayed.

d) Once you are in the Vehicle Information Menu use the arrow up and arrow down buttons on the turn signal lever until the Drivers Information Center displays the tire pressure and position.

e) Press and hold the button located on the end of the turn signal lever until the message “Are You Sure You Want to Relearn Yes or No” is displayed.

f) Use the arrow up and arrow down buttons to highlight “Yes.” Press the button on the end of the turn signal lever and the horn will chirp.

g) The tire learning active will be displayed on the DIC and the left front turn signal will be illuminated.

h) Place the wheel sensor reprogramming tool over the left front valve stem (you will need to hold the tool very close). The horn will sound, indicating the left front TPMS sensor is programmed. If this takes more than 15 seconds, pull the reprogramming tool back and try again, it will give you three tries. If the procedure fails after three tries then, you must start the complete sequence over.

i) If the tool will not read a sensor, that sensor may have failed internally.

j) When the horn sounds, the IPC will direct you to proceed to program the next sensor in the following order: Learn Right Front Tire, Learn Right Rear Tire and Learn Left Rear Tire. The programming can be canceled at any time by turning ignition off. If the programming is cancelled with less than four sensors learned, it will only accept the sensors programmed up to that point.

k) After programing the last wheel sensor, the horn will chirp twice to let you know all the sensors have been programed.

Note: some tire scan tools have the ability to place the vehicle in learn mode through the OBD-II connection.

John, I hope this helps to keep that pesky TPMS light off. I know that light can be a problem, but I feel this is a great safety system to let drivers know when there may be a potential problem. Hope to see you again at one of the Corvette meets or at the auctions.

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